Savannah Looking

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

The Savannah Sparrows are back. While many other bird species migrate to the far north for breeding in spring, some Savannah Sparrows regularly come here. This individual perched on a pile of cut fennel on the east side of the park, near the section of lawn where they were able to nest and breed two years ago because Parks management allowed the vegetation to grow. They nest in tall grass. The female builds a cup-shaped nest on the ground and covers it with overhanging vegetation, often creating a tunnel for access from one side. This year management had the area mowed short, and these sparrows (along with Western Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, and other ground nesters) will have to find another nursery habitat, hopefully in the park.

It’s odd how becoming aware of wildlife changes one’s perspective on the park landscape. Before I knew about ground-nesting birds, I saw no problem with mowed grasslands everywhere, other than the noise and pollution of the mowing machines. Now a freely growing grassland, knee high or taller, with flowering radish, mustard, and other weeds, seems more beautiful to my eyes than land decapitated by mower blades. Mowed lawns are the religion of suburbs. What stressed city spirits need more, in my opinion, is a taste of wilderness. I’m sure the Savannah Sparrow, for one, agrees.

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

More about the Savannah Sparrow: Audubon Cornell Wikipedia In Chavez Park

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2 thoughts on “Savannah Looking

  • Interesting how funding is materializing to better understand how Urban Nature is viewed and used by urban residents. E.g.,

    Midwest urban ecosystem study wins $7M grant
    The University of Minnesota has received a $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a research center dedicated to studying urban ecosystems, the first such site in the Midwest. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who announced the grant with fellow Sen. Tina Smith, said, “This grant will fund innovative research to help us better understand how urban nature affects our cities’ residents.”
    Full Story: St Paul online

    Maybe Berkeley should be seeking funding to better understand the role of CCP’s Nature as a contributor to City residents’ well-being (or not) ? Even small initial steps could possibly reveal a greater wealth that Berkeley residents may derive from CCP.

  • “It’s odd how becoming aware of wildlife changes one’s perspective on the park landscape.”

    Yes, information is dangerous –makes one knowledgeable in ways that twist the mind, brings on anguish, discomfort, impatience, (or caring, wonderment, sublime peace?).

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